India, Russia forge S-400 missile deal; ignore U.S. threat

India will finally acquire the S-400 Triumf, one of the world's most lethal surface-to-air missiles, from Russian Federation amid a threat of tough sanctions from the US.

The talks also covered Russian Federation potentially building a new nuclear power plant in India, and also India paying Russian Federation $2 billion for frigates and $1 billion for helicopters, although these last two were absent from the communique.

Significantly, the agreement for the estimated U.S. $5.43 billion (₹40,300 Crores) S-400 system was not referred to by either leader in their press statements.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on October 5, 2018. For all the warm words, ties with Moscow are a lot less central to Delhi than they were during the Cold War years, as India has diversified arms purchases, closing $15 billion of deals with the United States over the last decade.

Besides, in the third defence deal, India will be purchasing 200 light utility Ka-226 helicopters for $1 billion (Rs 737.85 crore at current price).

A waiver from the US President Donald Trump is essential.

"Since April, India has not made any payments to Russian Federation for weapons purchase. We can not prejudge any sanctions decisions", Lee added. The US is now India´s second biggest arms supplier. India has purchased a missile defense system from Russian Federation, putting the nation at risk of being hit by USA sanctions.

He later was hosted for dinner by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence, 7, Lok Kalyan Marg as both the leaders talked over a host of issues, including bilateral cooperation and strategic issues.

But if Washington vows to sanction New Delhi, then the US commitment to US-India partnership and its genuine willingness to take this partnership to a new level could understandably come into question in New Delhi, Kugelam adds. "The deliveries will begin in two years' time", the sources said.

India and Russian Federation on Friday also signed a document for cooperation to implement new nuclear power project (NPP) following talks between Modi and Putin.

Under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act approved by Congress last July, President Trump has the power to impose sanctions on countries that procure military equipment from individual companies in Russia, Iran, and North Korea, including the S-400 maker. Faced with public discontent, President Vladimir Putin proposed several measures - that were adopted by the State Duma - to soften the pension reform, including lowering the pension age hike for women to 60.

Strategically, Russia has facilitated India's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and endorsed India's long-held demand for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

  • Steve Townsend